GOP Congressman Peter King’s “Fact-Free Zone”

On CNN’s Starting Point, GOP Congressman Peter King once again proved that he operates in a “Fact-Free Zone” when it comes to President Obama’s Foriegn Policy record. When pressed by anchor Soledad O’Brien to explain why thought Obama was apologizing for America, he continued to deny his actual speech content. O’Brien stated that FactCheck.org and other independent fact-checkers were all in agreement that Obama has never apologized abroad.

O’Brien: Everyone keeps talking about this ‘Apology Tour’ and apologies from the President…

King: It is

O’Brien: And I’m trying to find the words “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” in any of those speeches. I have the text of all those speeches in front of me. [It’s in] none of those speeches at all…

King: But Soledad…

O’Brien: And if you go to FactCheck.org, they’ll say the same thing…

King: Right…

O’Brien: They’ve fact-check the whole thing and they say this whole theory of apologies is…

King: I don’t care what fact-check says. I don’t care!

O’Brien Well ok you may not care, but they [are] a fact-checker.

King: But no, what I’m saying is [this]… Any common-sense interpretation of speeches shows the President is apologizing for the American position.

Umm, ok Congressman. But he never acutally said it. To most people, you have to use the words “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” or else it’s not an apology. Your facts come up as completely FALSE. Yet another Republican talking point… dismantled.

As entertaining as Peter King can be on the political talk show circuit, this interview reveals a systemic problem. If he’s perfectly ok saying that he doesn’t care about facts, then why is he in Congress? American taxpayers pay him a handsome 6-figure salary of over $160,000 per year. He has a top-of-the-line health plan and likely will retire with a pension. And beyond all of that, we pay him to make critical decisions that affect virtually every aspect of American life. What we don’t pay him to do is simply ignore facts and fact-checkers like they don’t exist.

Pennsylvania Voter ID law: big developments

The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court has vacated the controversial Voter ID law, and is now sending it back to the lower courts for further review. This law would have taken aggressive steps to alienate any voter who could not produce a valid, current state ID with an expiration date. Even a stay of this law through November is a huge “win” for those against Voter Suppression.

More info coming soon.

The ABCs of the GOP: N is for…

Negligence

There is no doubt that Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and their campaign staff are working very hard to achieve their goal. The amount of intense dedication it takes to run for President is indescribable… tireless days and nights on the trail, meeting literally tens of thousands of people.

But clearly, some things are NOT working in the Romney campaign, or in the 2012 version of the Republican Party. The discipline and unity of their messaging has been tested during the current campaign cycle, and so far, they’ve failed almost every test. Of course considering how many lies the GOP has had to contrive this year, it shouldn’t be a surprise that staying on message is a challenge.

Romney has had a fair share of gaffes along the way… “I’m not concerned about the very poor”, Corporations are people, my friend” and of course when he said the perhaps ill-fated phrase “there are a lot of reasons NOT to elect me“. Umm, ok… if you say so.

But of course everyone makes gaffes. We all say things we didn’t quite mean to say, and especially having to be in the public eye 24/7, it’s bound to happen. But the Romney campaign is about more than gaffes. There is a serious issue with negligence of the work that they are doing. Many of the critical decisions that they have made have turned out to be very damaging. Some think that they’ve caused more harm than the Obama campaign ever could.

Take the Republican National Convention in Tampa. This convention was supposed to be all about Mitt Romney. Each speaker selected had a primary objective of showing their party faithful (and the American people) why Mr. Romney should be elected President. Yet, they had a barrage of speakers like Chris Christie and Rick Santorum that barely even mentioned Romney, if at all. Plenty of reasons not to like Barack Obama, but very little positives to say for the ACTUAL party nominee. It should be no surprise that Romney received no convention bounce at all after the RNC, given the negligence shown by his leaders to let such under-whelming surrogates take the lead. And of course… this doesn’t even begin to mention the Clint Eastwood “empty chair” fiasco.

And then of course the recent foriegn policy blunder made by the GOP nominee virtually speaks for itself. Political pundits from both left and right have come out to criticize the Romney campaign’s swift and judgemental response to a situation they were not informed of. The sad part of it is, without that huge misstep, the GOP may have been able to capitalize on the a difficult time for the Obama doctrine by simply remaining silent until the facts were known. But clearly, they blew it.

This continued pattern of negligence has left the top of the GOP ticket very weak… perhaps too weak to be able to withstand another big misstep. Which is why the timing of a very revealing leak from Mother Jones couldn’t be worse if you’re a Romney surrogate or supporter. In the video, Mitt Romney is caught on tape describing all Obama voters as “dependent upon government for food, housing and health care.” He literally depicts all supporters of the President as lower-class voters who are lazy and can’t fend for (or think for) themselves. It’s a shocking comment that is sure to garner the attention of voters through November…

But in this particular case, none of the negligent opinions expressed here can be blamed on campaign staff or fixed by “re-tooling”. These comments all come from Romney himself… so convincing that it’s hard to believe they could ever be a gaffe. Negligence, indeed.

Middle East Incidents: Fake protests?

Evidence is mounting that the 9/11 attacks on US Consulates and Embassies were a coordinated setup. Though the State Department or US military have not confirmed this many Libyan officials are on record with reports stating that a militant group has planned the attacks, and used fake protests as cover.

Similar accounts are also coming from Cairo, Egypt. Many eye-witnesses via Twitter are confirming that the protests are fake. Here are some tweets from @loaiomran, a resident of Cairo…

Freedom isn’t Free: The Benghazi attacks

I suppose it’s possible that it was a sheer coincidence, but the significance of an attack on September 11th isn’t lost to any living American. Most of us still remember that day… the beautiful weather (at least in my part of the country), watching TV and maybe thinking for just a split second that this was possibly the best movie special effect you’d ever seen in your life. Then realizing with shock and horror that you were witnessing an attack on our country. Suddenly, war, death and pain was no longer some far-off country’s problem… it was our problem. We were attacked, we were killed, and those left behind had to find the strength to rebuild.

This is why yesterday’s attack on the US Embassy at Benghazi, Libya is so tough to comprehend. US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and 3 other brave Americans died at the hands of an angry mob. Our freedom is something that we continue to take for granted, even as those of us on the front lines continue to risk their lives (and sometimes sacrifice them) for our shroud of ignorance. But what was the cause of this senseless violence?

A film by Jewish real-estate developer named Sam Bacile is what sparked all of this outrage, and it continues to spread across the Muslim world. To Muslims, this film is highly offensive, casting the prophet Muhammad as an imbecile, and even a child molester. Eventhough the New York Post declared “it’s just a stupid movie!!” it wasn’t seen that way at all to the Muslim world.

Here’s what gets lost in translation… we live in a Democracy. We’re used to these types of things. And even when someone highly offends us, most Americans would rather demand an apology than try to cause the other person harm. And maybe in extreme cases, we’ll take our “fight” against them to a court of law. But burning and death rarely enter the picture for us. As a highly individualistic society, we also tend to seek individuals for blame over groups. If one person in somebody’s family is a racist, we don’t (ususally) assume every member of their family to be the same.

But outside our shores, Sam Bacile isn’t known to Libya. They probably didn’t take the time to parse out details of who created the film, or any of the motivations behind it. The mobs in Benghazi and Cairo simply saw “American”, and they reacted. To them, there is no difference between one self-identified hater of Islam, and the 312 million diverse, dynamic population that is the USA. We’re all just Americans. And to the minority of persons in these nations that already sought to harm the US, a film like this played right into their hands.

September 11th, 2012 was yet another reminder that freedom isn’t free. It’s a reminder that the live of privilege that we live in this country is attached to huge responsibilities. After posting such a bold statement as this D-movie has become, Mr. Bacile is currently in hiding. This person’s irresponsible behavior has now left him with blood on his hands. One has to wonder if he’s proud of this accomplishment now, and if he mourns the lives of these innocent Americans as well. As a wealthy man, would he be willing to reach out to these families and take responsibility for being so hateful and foolish?

As we continue to mourn the fallen, we as Americans also have to take heed. The blessing of living in a free country has consequences. Just because we are free to have and express our own opinions, no matter how vile they may be, does not exempt us from the responsibility to respect others. If we can’t do that, then we will continue to leave ourselves vulnerable to incidents like this.

Simple Gifts: Bill Clinton’s DNC2012 Speech

Regardless of the actual results on November 6th, former President William Jefferson Clinton made history on September 5th. He gave a speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention that will be talked about for years to come. The brilliant man that has traversed every corner of the USA and the globe delivered a speech last night that was as down home as an Arkansas watermelon. And yet, he countered the falsehoods of the GOP and Romney/Ryan campaign in one 48-minute swoop. He was able to not only give a speech about policy details (Ezra Klein even referred to him as the “Wonk-In-Chief“), but also that landed on the very pulse of the American people. Simple. Direct. Genius.

But even beyond the budget specifics, perhaps the most effective thing President Clinton’s speech happened in the first 20 minutes. He reminded the American people that bi-partisanship is a two-way street. As many attempts as President Obama made to reach out to the GOP, they would have none of it. He also did something that few Democrats today are willing to do… told us that the GOP of 2012 has been taken over by its extremes. Try as they might, this is not the party of Ronald Reagan, or even Bush 43. They have lost their ability to compromise, and to GOVERN. Time and again this was evidenced through House GOP mutiny from Speaker John Boehner over the debt-ceiling fight, to the incessant repetition of 33 votes to “repeal Obamacare”. The Republican Party in Washington has a real problem.

Of course you don’t need masterful Clintonian rhetoric to figure out that the current iteration of the Republican Party is a mess… just ask a Ron Paul supporter. Ask them why the party went from state to state to change their party rules and ensure that Paul would be flushed out of the primary. Ask them why Mr. Ron Paul got 190 delegates (which even that is up for debate, based on whether the Paul supporters would be willing to sue) but wasn’t even allowed to speak at the Convention. If they can’t unite the inner factions of their party, why should we trust them to be able to unite and govern the country?

Here’s the full video of President Clinton’s speech…

The ABCs of the GOP FULL SERIES

Here are links to the full series of The ABCs of the GOP…

A is for Austerity — Jobs in the Private Sector have slowly recovered, but the public sector keeps getting slashed thanks to state and local budget crunches.

B is for Bullying — How Republicans used and abused the Filibuster to cause ultimate Senate gridlock.

C is for Convoluted — The twisting, turning record of Congressional Republicans, and of Mitt Romney

D is for Distraction — How the GOP uses issues like the debt and Contraception to distract voters and control their base.

E is for Extinction — Using Texas as “Exhibit A” shows that the Republican Party’s base is rapidly declining.

F is for Fear — Why the GOP has to work so hard to portray Obama is a foriegn, socialist “other” even when it means voting against their own positions.

G is for Game Plan — How the GOP used a carefully crafted message of fear and hate to make huge gains in the 2010 elections (“Fire Pelosi”).

H is for Hysteria — The party’s inner war with Ron Paul and his supporters.

I is for Illusion — How the GOP manipulates illusions of outrage to get what they want.

J is for Jaded — Why Republicans still can’t except Mitt Romney as their nominee.

K is for Karma — How the GOP’s two-faced positions may come back to haunt them, and Romney spirited defense of OBAMACARE.

L is for Lying — Sure, politicians from both parties lie. But here’s why some of the GOP lies are much more dangerous than Democrats.

M is for Marginalization — How the GOP continues to hasten its route to extinction by shutting out future leaders.

N is for Negligence — How the Romney campaign just can’t seem to get rid of it’s systemic mishaps.

O is for Obligation — Republicans are spending so much time trying to defeat the President, they have let our country fall into disrepair.

P is for Partisanship — simply put, the Republican party in its current state is incapable of governing the country, and why they should be thankful that the President won re-election in 2012.

Q is for Quagmire— After the election, the GOP is now forced with the impossible task of either striking a fiscal deal with Obama on his terms, or letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire. If they choose the latter, anything they pass in 2013 would officially be the “Obama Tax Cuts” and the Republican Party risks losing the signature issue of lower taxes for generations to come.

A Voice for the Rest of Texas